Rep. Rokita, budget committee prep for health bill amidst CBO saying 24 million more would be uninsured

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INDIANAPOLIS – The push-back from House Republicans was swift and highly anticipated Tuesday in wake of the Congressional Budget Office releasing its report on their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“They’re not always right,” Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) said in an interview with FOX 59 Monday. “In fact, a lot of times they get it wrong.”

The report, coming from Capitol Hill’s official scorekeeper, said 24 million more Americans will be uninsured by 2026, the deficit would reduce by $337 billion over the next decade largely in part to Medicaid cuts and average premiums would jump during the next two years but eventually offset and drop an average 10 percent by 2026.

“Of course more people will be covered under Obamacare,” Rokita said. “Because Obamacare mandated people be covered, whether they needed crappy government healthcare or not.”

In a statement, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) praised the report’s findings that premiums over time would drop, yet acknowledged the concern sweeping throughout Capitol Hill as Republican leaders worked to offset the report.

“I understand and appreciate the concerns some people have expressed,” Brooks said. “As we’ve said from the beginning, this is a process, and today’s CBO score is reflective only of this bill and does not reflect any future actions the Administration or Congress will take to fix our healthcare system.”

The bill moves to the House Budget Committee on Thursday where Rokita is vice chairman.

“Now people who really need help are going to have access to good healthcare options,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean they`re going to take them. That`s going to be up to the individual.”

Democrats were quick to jump on critical details of the report as the White House strongly denounced its findings.

“They should just pull the plug on this bill,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday, the Democratic House Minority Leader. “That’s our message to the Republicans. This isn’t even a good start.”

The report, which help fuel new concerns about how the replacement will affect Americans, also offers reassurances to key conservatives worried the original plan didn’t cut Medicaid enough.

“What we want to do is get the federal government really as much out of the business as we can,” Rokita said. “So we think with that flexibility given to the states, they are so innovative, that they will more than willing be able to make up any differences in funds.”

Concern, though, still looms among governors in 31 states including Indiana that expanded Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act using federal dollars.

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration said Tuesday the  governor supports fixing the Affordable Care Act but wants to make sure lawmakers are “compassionate” in how that’s accomplished, adding the bill is in the first step of a long process.